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Understand Why Your Child Has Tantrums

Even though tantrums are normal, they can be very hard for you to deal with.

Kids have tantrums for different reasons
By understanding these reasons, you can try to stop tantrums before they start. Your child might have a tantrum because she: baby crying

  • Is tired
  • Is hungry
  • Is uncomfortable (for example, too hot or sick)
  • Is frustrated
  • Is scared or nervous
  • Wants more attention
  • Wants something she can't have

Deaf children might also have tantrums when they can't communicate what they are thinking and feeling. The feeling of frustration builds up and the tantrum releases some of the tension.

How to avoid tantrums
The best way to deal with tantrums is to prevent them, if possible. Here are some things you can do to prevent tantrums:

  • Make sure your child is getting enough sleep.
    • Regular naps can help
    • If you know your child will have to stay up late one night, try to let her take a longer nap that day.
  • Make sure your child eats and drinks often.
    • Young children have small stomachs. They need to eat a little bit every few hours.
    • Remember to pack snacks for long trips.
  • Think of the family rules that are important to you.
  • Some family rules may include 'no hitting' and 'no destroying things'.
  • Keep the rules simple and clear.
  • Make sure the rules are realistic. Don't expect a very young child not to ever cry or yell.
  • Explain the rules to your child. It's very important for your deaf child to know the rules ahead of time, because she might not hear when you say "no."
  • Don't give her what she wants when she is having a tantrum. This will teach her to tantrum whenever she wants something.
  • Don't bend the rules for your child just because she's deaf! Deaf children need the same rules as hearing children.

Why some deaf children have tantrums

Sometimes deaf children have tantrums when they are confused and don't know what is happening. They can't hear you talk about the plans for the day, and then they are not ready when its time to go someplace.

  • If your child is very young, you can make a picture book with pictures that show different places you will go, the doctor, grocery store, playground. Then you can show your child where you are going in the picture book. You can make a picture book with cutouts showing her favorite foods to eat, too, so she can show you what she wants when she can't see it.
  • If your child is older, you can write a story about the time that makes her most upset, like going to the doctor, or taking medicine. The story can explain what is happening. You can add signs to the pictures and words if she uses sign language to communicate.
  • You can write a story to explain to your child what you want her to do, like use the potty instead of her diaper. These stories will help explain things, and there will be fewer tantrums.
  • You can find some examples of these stories here [link to Sample Stories page].

Next: What to Do During a Tantrum

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